Issues notices to those within 300 metres of protected area
The Archaeological Survey of India is cracking the whip on encroachments and constructions that have come up in violation of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010, which restricts construction within 300 metres of protected monuments.
It has served notices on those who have commenced constructions around the heritage sites and has been contemplating serious action against violators after receiving lukewarm response to its letter.
“In Andhra Pradesh alone, about 10,000 heritage sites are protected by the ASI, of which around 9,000 monuments are under threat due to encroachments. It is high time for us to protect the sites by taking action against the guilty,” D. Kanna Babu, Deputy Superintending Archaeologist of the ASI told The Hindu .
The department had identified over 400 encroachments in the Golconda Fort in the State capital.
“In East Godavari alone, we have heritage sites at Draksharama, Samalkot, Bikkavolu, Kapavaram, Kodavali and Adurru. The Act has been violated at all these sites and we have promptly issued notices to the persons concerned,” he said.
The ASI served notices on 102 people residing around the famous temple of Lord Siva in Draksharama and 65 notices on the residents of Bikkavolu, which has five heritage sites, including the Golingeswara temple.
In the case of Adurru and Samalkot, four and two notices respectively, were served on violators.
“Those who commence construction of a big project in the vicinity of our sites have to apply for a no objection certificate from the ASI. Just now we have started receiving applications seeking NOCs, which will be issued only after thorough inspection,” Mr. Kanna Babu explains.
As per the provisions of the Act, he says, the department can remove the encroachments after bringing the issue to the notice of the court.
The residents around the heritage sites, however, argue that the construction activity is going on in their own land, but not that of the government.